10 Ways to Treat a Sunburn Naturally

A sunburn can make life pretty uncomfortable for a few days (or more!). Read on for ten natural ways to treat this painful problem, so you’re back to yourself ASAP.

The longer days of summer have arrived, bringing with them extra sunshine — and the increased potential for sunburns. It’s important to soak up vitamin D, but sunburnt skin can lead to premature aging and an increased risk of skin cancer. Wearing SPF 15 sunscreen (at least!) every day will prevent most negative effects, but should you forget to reapply after a swim, or should you get distracted and miss spots, a sunburn may end up being the result. Fear not—you’ll know better for next time, and there are many ways to get relief from the pain and discomfort of this unhappy skin issue. Read on for ten ways to treat a sunburn naturally.

1. Take a cold shower or bath.

The first step toward finding relief is to cool down the skin. The cool water decreases excess blood flow to the skin, reducing inflammation and redness, says Dr. Kavitha Reddy of Boston Medical Centre. But, don’t use soap or products with fragrance; these can increase dryness. (Just stick to plain old water!) Afterward, gently pat skin to dry; rubbing will potentially be painful and should be avoided.

2. Try an application of Aloe vera.

Using Aloe vera on the skin is one of the most popular and effective treatments for sunburns. Aloe has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and with good reason: It contains 20 minerals, 20 amino acids, vitamins, and water. Studies on animals have shown that Aloe vera improves the wound healing process and reduces inflammation. Aloe vera is found in many over-the-counter products, but the best way to treat a sunburn naturally is simply split an Aloe leaf in half to access the cooling sap.

3. Drink lots of water.

Sunburns draw fluid to the skin’s surface away from the rest of the body. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, drinking extra water eases the discomfort of a sunburn by keeping you hydrated while healing.

4. Looks for a cannabidiol (CBD) topical balm.

A 2021 study in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences found that CBD can protect skin from UVA and UVB-induced damage. In addition, CBD has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are healing for the skin. Looking for a balm suggestion? Relieve Pain Gel from Basic Jane is an Aloe-based gel that contains hemp-derived CBD, arnica, peppermint, and menthol. The combined effects of these ingredients provide cooling relief for sunburns.

5. Witch hazel may help.

Another plant-based remedy, Witch hazel, contains chemicals called tannins that reduce swelling, repair broken skin and fight bacteria with their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Witch hazel is widely available at most drug stores and can be applied directly to the skin to treat sunburn naturally.

6. Take an oatmeal bath.

The anti-inflammatory properties of oatmeal help ease the itching and irritation that accompany a nasty burn. Prepare an oatmeal bath by adding one cup of ground oats to your bath water. You can also try making a soothing paste by combining 1/2 cup of finely ground oats with 1/4 cup milk and a few tablespoons of honey. Then, apply and leave on sunburnt skin for 20 minutes.

7. Use a THC-infused topical salve to ease pain.

Cannabis topicals with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) provide localized relief for soreness. There is no psychoactive high because the THC is not absorbed into the bloodstream, but it can soothe and repair sunburned skin. Look for products like the Super Skin Salve by Flower Power, which contains cannabis-infused olive oil, lavender, calendula, vitamin E oil, and coconut oil. The all-natural ingredients are antibacterial, anti-fungal, and calming. Also, the cream can be used to treat other rashes and skin irritations.

8. Hit up the produce section at the supermarket.

Cucumber has the power to relax and alleviate the pain of a sunburn. These easy-to-find veggies are full of water, vitamin C, and caffeic acid, which gives them hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties. Place cooled cucumber slices directly on burned areas, or mash cucumber into a paste and apply to skin.

9. Make a chamomile tea compress.

The anti-inflammatory properties of chamomile tea are soothing for a sunburn. Drinking the tea will also help soothe the body. So, brew tea and let cool, then soak a clean cotton cloth and apply to burned areas.

10. Smoke a joint.

After treating skin with any of the treatments listed above, relax and smoke a joint for additional pain relief.

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